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UN Deputy Special Envoy lashes out at international reluctance to help Libya

Ali Al-Za’tari, the deputy head of the UN Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in the country has launched a scathing attack on the international community for ignoring the Libyan humanitarian crisis.

In a statement issued today, he said that in just over six weeks since the Libya Humanitarian Response was launched to raise $166 million to provide urgent assistance to 1.3 million people, only $2.1 million had been received – a little over one percent of what is needed.

Just two donors had contributed funding, he said.

With an estimated 435,000 internally displaced because of clashes, the chaos and the growth of Daesh, and many more unable to access medicare or, in the face of steep rising prices, no longer able to adequately feed and clothe themselves or find proper housing, it is estimated that a total of 2.4 million people are now affected by the crisis.

Libya had the potential to fund a response to its humanitarian needs, but in reality that was not possible at the moment, Za’tari noted. The country therefire needs international help, but that help has not been forthcoming. “Vital humanitarian funding, however, is conspicuous by its absence,” he said.

“We cannot explain or justify why the international community hesitates to provide humanitarian funding to meet needs that are very clear to all,” he added. “We reiterate that a lack of funding for the humanitarian response will lead to additional miseries and human pain.”

The Libya Humanitarian Response Plan, moreover, does not deal with the needs of the million or so outside the country – in Tunisia, for example it is said that around 40,000 Libyans out of the estimated 800,000 said to be staying there at present are now living in poverty.

Libya needed international support, he said, appealing to the international community, “on behalf of the most vulnerable in Libya, for a hand up and not a hand out”. The humanitarian situation had to be to be addressed now.

In December , Za’tari said that the UN was worried about the humanitarian crisis in Libya and that the situation was “not acceptable” at that point.

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